The H1B visa category is for noncitizens who will work in the United States in a “specialty occupation,” perform services under a Department of Defense-administered project, or work as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.
The “specialty occupation” category is the one that applies to most employers and individuals. It refers to jobs for which the usual requirement is a U.S. bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in a specific field and for which the foreign national employee has a relevant degree or the equivalent. Examples of jobs that qualify include accountants, engineers, information technology professionals, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.
There is a cap of 85,000 visas for first-time applicants each federal fiscal year, which runs October 1 to September 30.
Key Features of the H1B Visa.
Here are the basics on the H1B visa:
The H1B visa can be approved only based on a specific employer, offering a specific job in a specific location. A change in any one of these often requires the sponsoring (or new) employer to file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The employer must pay the H1B employee the higher of the actual wage or prevailing wage, as described in, “H1B Employers: What Wage Must You Pay?”
The H1B employee can work for up to six years in the U.S., authorized in maximum periods of three years at a time. The six-year limit does not apply if the employee works less than six months each year in the United States or has reached certain milestones in the employment-based green card process.
Dependent family members (spouses and children under age 21) are eligible for H4 visas to accompany the H1B worker. H-4 visas do not allow for employment in the U.S.
If the employer terminates the H1B worker, the employer must offer to pay for return transportation to the worker’s last place of residence abroad. The return transportation requirement does not apply if the H-1B worker resigns or leaves on his or her own. It also does not apply to H-4 family members.
When the H1B employment ends, the employer must notify USCIS and have the petition revoked. As long as the H1B petition remains in effect, the employer must pay the worker’s wages.
For more information: http://www.immigrationlawyer-sandiego.com/H1B-Visa.htm